Apr 14, 2011

Eggs, Bread And Cheese*

Jenny and I definitely chowed down some strata leftovers Sunday morning.  Our husbands were quite pleased with that result of the shower.

Oh my word, this was tasty.  I was a teensy bit nervous making these, since they were recipes I'd never prepared before, and I never make new recipes for guests without trying first.  However, I had made the French Toast casserole, and all of these came from a cookbook I trust as much as my mother when it comes to cookery- America's Test Kitchen, which publishes Cook's Illustrated.  All three of the casserole recipes came from "The Best Make Ahead Recipe", and are rather foolproof.

Breakfast Strata with Potatoes, Rosemary and Fontina:
  • 16-20 1/2 in thick slices super market French or Italian bread (the soft kind)
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the baking dish
  • 3 cups cooked red potatoes cut into 1/2 cubes (I cheated and used those "simply potatoes" that come in the refrigerated section.  I had an opera to get to!
  • 3 large shallots minced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 12-16 oz fontina, about 3-5 cups.  This depends on budget and love of cheese.  My budget (and waistline) is always ready to expand when it comes to more cheese!
  • 12 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups half and half
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of minced flat leaf parsley
Adjust 2 oven racks to the upper middle and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spread the bread out over 2 baking sheets and bake until dry and light golden brown, about 25 minutes, switching and rotating about half way through.  Let the bread cool completely then spread 4 tablespoons of butter (nuke it to help with spreading), evenly over 1 side of each piece of bread.

Melt the remaining three tablespoons of butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the potatoes and cook until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the shallots and cook until softened about 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and the rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the wine to the skillet and simmer over medium high heat until reduced to 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Butter a 13 by 9 baking dish and tightly fit half of th bread slices buttered side up into a single layer in the dish.  Sprinkle half the potato mixture, then a generous cup of the cheese evenly over the bread, repeat with remaining bread slices, potato mixture and 1 more cups of cheese.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until combined, then whisk in reduced wine, half and half, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread layers and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over the top.

Wrap the strata tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap flush to the surface.  Weigh down with boxes of sugar, or whatever you have the is relatively flat and heavy.  Refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

With rack in middle position preheat oven to 325.  Let strata sit unwrapped at room temp for 20 minutes.  Bake the stratas uncovered, about an hour and 20 minutes, until it's puffy, and the edges have pulled away.  Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before serving.

I'll pass along spinach gruyere tomorrow, before I head to Athens for Kinger's wedding weekend!  A big thank you to all the adorable hostesses for Em's shower- y'all are the best!


  1. Yum, yum, yum. Anything with eggs, bread and cheese works for me!

  2. Love.
    Dear lovely foodie friend...What should I make for my Easter Supper Club? I am doing a ham, and stacy is making deviled eggs, but then I am at a loss...

  3. omg Samma I love that dress, where did you find it??

  4. You look gorgeous, and that strata looks YUMMY.

  5. I was just writing to tell my little Samma, you look amazing:) You are positively glowing and radiant in that dress, in these pics! Love and miss you so much my friend!

  6. That sounds SOOO good, I am going to make that one day soon. Oh how I miss my rosemary bush from the old house.

    And I totally agree with Abby above (and my previous comments on fb) - you look amazing!

  7. I love strata - that sounds wonderful! Your dress is so pretty!

  8. First, your dress is gorgeous and absolutely perfect for the brunch! Second, I am going to the grocery store on my way home from work and making the starta! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Your dress is so pretty. The perfect easter outfit. You must share where you got it from :)

  10. That strata looks amazing and I love the pic of you and your girls - beautiful dress, Samma!

  11. Holy cute hair-do! It looks so full and shiny! (And I'm not just kissing up since you are going to be my assistant sunday school chair next year!:) Really, though, I appreciate you!

  12. Hi! Your dress is adorable...do you mind sharing where it's from??


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